The Great Debate UK
By Kathleen Brooks. The opinions expressed are her own.
For the last three years talk about the global economy has been decidedly negative. Firstly there was the sub-prime housing crisis in the U.S., then the sovereign debt crisis, now we wonder whether the euro will survive and whether China will suffer a “hard” economic landing.
But amidst all of this doom and gloom, there seems to be a bright spot: Sub-Saharan Africa. For the bulk of the last thirty years the focus has been on famine, civil war or piracy, which has left a decidedly negative impression of the continent. However, in recent weeks there has been a growing number of optimistic reports about Africa, with some even thinking it could continue to grow while the rest of the world stagnates.
So why all the positivity? The media might be behind the curve on this one since Sub-Saharan growth has outperformed the global average for most of the past decade, according to data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). What is even more astonishing is that it has managed to sustain its growth rates even during periods of crisis. Last year growth averaged more than 5 percent even though the sovereign debt crisis ravaged Europe and exports stayed high. Now that global food and energy inflation is starting to level, the continent is in a solid position.
The IMF predicts that Sub-Saharan Africa will grow at a faster pace than Brazil – one of the BRIC economies – between 2010 and 2015. So how has the continent managed to divert the narrative from famine and war to growth and prosperity?
The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has come out with a new report that tries to measure, country by country on a global level, government and social restrictions on religion. You can see our coverage of the report here and here and can download the whole report here.
The report, which Pew says is the first major quantitative study of the subject on a global level, ranks countries under two indices -- one measures government restrictions on religion, the other social hostilities or curbs on religion that stem from violence or intimidation by private individuals or groups.
-Ben Amunwa is a campaigner with oil industry watchdog Platform, where he runs Remember Saro-Wiwa, a project that uses art and activism to raise awareness about the impact of the oil in the Niger Delta. The opinions expressed are his own.-
When the news broke of a settlement in the Wiwa v Shell case, a cacophony of responses soon flooded my inbox. Hailed as a victory for human rights by some, others felt disappointed that Shell could throw money in the face of justice. In such a high profile and emotive legal battle, holding oil giant Shell responsible for human rights abuses in Nigeria, including the execution of charismatic activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, hopes were inevitably high.
from Africa News blog:
The reception would have done justice to royalty or a movie star when Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe paid a rare visit to his homeland recently, some 50 years after penning his book “Things Fall Apart”.
That book has a firm place on school syllabuses in much of Africa and is studied around the world. Achebe, now 79, has been acclaimed as the father of modern African literature and as the continent’s greatest living writer – his books being very accessible as well as giving a penetrating insight into the struggles of his people.